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Anish Kapoor experimenting with 'blackest material in universe' ahead of Venice Biennale


Agence France-Presse

 /  Sun, March 15, 2020  /  06:06 pm
Anish Kapoor experimenting with 'blackest material in universe' ahead of Venice Biennale

British contemporary artist Anish Kapoor stands in front of his artwork 'Sectional body preparing for Monadic Singularity' during the opening of his exhibition entitled 'Works, thoughts, experiments' at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, on July 6, 2018. (AFP/Miguel Riopa)

The Indian-born artist secured exclusive rights to make art with the Vantablack S-VIS material in 2016, sparking outrage at the time across the international artists' community for monopolizing the pigment.

Initially developed by Surrey NanoSystems for military purposes, the technologically-advanced material will be at the heart of a new series that Kapoor will present at Galléria dell'Accademia for the 2021 Venice Biennale.


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Although he has been experimenting with unconventional material for decades, Kapoor told The Art Newspaper that he is still unsure about how to incorporate Vantablack in his artistic practice.

The technical process to create the super black material is particularly complex, as a reactor is needed to adhere ultra-thin layers of carbon nanotubes to a given surface.

"The particles stand up like velvet when they are put to a reactor. To give you a sense of scale if the particle were 1m-wide it would be 300m-tall. When the particles stand up next to each other light gets trapped in between each particle," he told The Art Newspaper.

As the delicate material traps 99.96 percent of light falling on its surface, Kapoor described his latest works as "almost entirely lacking in dimension."

The never-before-seen pieces will be presented at Galléria dell'Accademia alongside the artist's red and blue "void" sculptures that granted Kapoor the Premio Duemila Prize at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Additional details about the forthcoming exhibition are still scant to this date, although the delicate nature of Kapoor's Vantablack pieces will make transportation and installation very challenging.

Ahead of the 2021 Venice Biennale, Kapoor will be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition "Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall," which is set to open to the public from March 29 through September 27 at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, England.

The show will feature 21 sculptures as well as a selection of drawings and smaller works spanning Kapoor's decades-long career, including his 2008 "Sky Mirror."

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